UPDATE: EPA has announced its new scoring module updates will be placed on hold while it implements an industry engagement and review period to solicit feedback. The agency has called on a group of stakeholders and technical experts to provide feedback and they will adjust the scoring models, if needed. We at ENGIE Insight are engaged in this process and are providing feedback to help the agency ensure the new models will work as intended. For more information on the review period, visit: energystar.gov/scoreupdates
How to maintain (or increase!) your score following recent performance metrics updates
We’ve been anticipating this update for months: in late August, the EPA officially updated performance metrics for U.S. buildings in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager based on the most recent market data available.
What does this mean for you? If you benchmark one or more of your buildings, your 1-100 ENERGY STAR score (and other metrics) has likely changed.
Portfolio Manager Metrics Update
While it can be tough to see a drop in your score, we think this Portfolio Manager update should be viewed as a positive move overall. Performance metrics used to be based on data from 2003, but they’ll now be based on more recent data from 2012. Over that time period, buildings became more efficient, and ENERGY STAR scores have increased. The metrics update is intended to re-align the scores to more appropriately reflect current-day building performance. Ultimately this is a reset of the starting line and will provide a better representation of a building’s efficiency against its peers.
This new set takes into consideration the overall shift toward building efficiency and the greater percentage of buildings implementing efficiency programs.
Anticipated Effects from the Portfolio Manager Update
So, let’s take a look at the anticipated effects, by building type.
As you can see, most buildings are going to experience a decline of between 1-16 points. It is important to note that these numbers represent an average. Each building score change will be different and may not reflect the average.
Here are two things that stood out to us about this data:
- Retail: Retail scores were hit the hardest, on average. However, what this means to us is that retail has made the greatest strides in building efficiency over the last 15 years and reduced their energy usage per square foot more than any other space. That’s something to applaud!
- Hotels: Hotels were the single building type that saw an increase in score. Keep in mind, hotels are complex and there are several factors affecting their efficiency. ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager scores may not always accurately reflect the many complexities found in hotel buildings.
How to Move Forward with the New Scoring System
Start by tackling the low-hanging fruit! Whether you’re a newcomer or if you’ve been certifying your buildings for years, there are a few places to start to meet the certification level within the new scoring system.
- Thermostats: Review your heating and cooling setpoints and make sure they set back when employees and customers aren’t present.
- Lights: Are your lights on? Do they need to be? Do you have the appropriate lighting controls in place? Work with your employees to turn off lights when not needed, and make sure proper controls are in place to turn off lights overnight.
- HVAC Tune-up: When is the last time you checked your filters on your HVAC equipment or had your units serviced? Proper maintenance helps maintain peak performance and increases your system’s useful life.
- Ventilation: How much ventilation air are you providing your space? Outdoor air is very important to comfort and health, but too much outdoor air can significantly increase your usage and cost.
Want more? Our certified energy managers can help you identify opportunities for increased efficiency and help you develop a plan and business case to hit the certification threshold. Reach out today to learn more!
For more information on the changes made to EPA’s ENERGY STAR scoring metrics, visit https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/facility-owners-managers/existing-buildings/use-portfolio-manager/update-energy-star-scores-cbecs